NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Stomach Cancer, Version 1.2016
Overview of cancer treatments Chemotherapy
Side effects of chemotherapy
Side effects of chemotherapy depend on many
factors. These factors include the drug type, amount
taken, length of treatment, and the person. Some
people have many side effects. Others have few.
Some side effects can be very serious while others
can be unpleasant but not serious. Most side effects
appear shortly after treatment starts and will stop after
treatment. However, other side effects are long-term
or may appear years later.
In general, most side effects are caused by the death
of fast-growing cells. These cells are found in the
blood, gut, hair follicles, and mouth. Thus, common
side effects include low blood cell counts, not feeling
hungry, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, and
mouth sores. Your nails may also change in color,
strength, dryness, and smoothness.
Another common side effect of some chemotherapy
drugs is sensory neuropathy. Sensory neuropathy
is damage to sensory nerves. It can be caused by
oxaliplatin, paclitaxel, docetaxel, and 5-FU.
Symptoms of sensory neuropathy include numbness,
tingling, and pain in fingers and toes. You may also
have sensitivity to cold and pain to light touch. It may
take months or years for symptoms to resolve. For
some people, sensory neuropathy is permanent. Talk
with your doctor about ways to prevent or reduce the
symptoms of sensory neuropathy.
Not all side effects of chemotherapy are listed here.
Please ask your treatment team for a complete list of
common and rare side effects. If a side effect bothers
you, tell your treatment team. There may be ways to
help you feel better.
Complementary and alternative medicine
edicine) is a group of treatments that
aren’t often given by doctors. There is much interest today in CAM for cancer.
Many CAMs are being studied to see if they are truly helpful.
Complementary medicines are treatments given along with usual medical
treatments. While CAMs aren’t known to kill cancer cells, they may improve
your comfort and well-being. Two examples are acupuncture for pain
management and yoga for relaxation.
Alternative medicine is used in place of usual medicine. Some alternative
medicines are sold as cures even though they haven’t been proven to work. If
there was good proof that CAMs or other treatments cured cancer, they would
be included in this book.
It is important to tell your treatment team if you are using any CAMs. They
can tell you which CAMs may be helpful and which CAMs may limit how well
medical treatments work.